Celtics in 6
Here we are, the Heat are halfway to the promised land needing now to win the two toughest rounds to get that elusive championship for LeBron James. The Celtics are a team that once was written off this season as old. However, calling them old has served as a motivational toll especially for Kevin Garnett who has been terrific this postseason. Health for both teams will be a key, as the Heat could be without Chris Bosh for the entire series, as he continues to recover from an abdominal strain. Meanwhile, in Boston the Celtics have concerns over a hobbled Paul Pierce. Last year these two teams met in the second round, with the Heat winning in five games as a shoulder injury to Rajon Rondo all but finished off the Celtics.
During the regular season, the Celtics won three of four meetings, with three games coming in April when the Celtics were finishing strong and the Heat were in cruise control waiting for the playoffs to begin. Rajon Rondo has come huge at time for the Celtics, including in Game 7 against the 76ers, where he scored 11 points in the final 4:16 after Paul Pierce fouled out. If the Heat are to win Dwyane Wade and LeBron James will both need to raise their game to a higher level. However, this series they will also need to get Chris Bosh back, and if they don’t and right now it looks like they won’t the Celtics will get the upset. Look for Boston to slip by, winning the series in six games.
Thunder in 7
This is the quintessential toss up series, both teams have rolled through the first two rounds, with the Thunder beating the last three NBA Champions in the first two rounds. One team is the young hungry team with several offensive weapons; the other is a grizzled veteran team looking for one last shot at glory. Both teams have strong defense and both teams are strong at home. The Spurs have a balanced scoring attack, while the Thunder have players like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook who can take the game over by themselves. Both Durant and Westbrook have played well in the postseason, and both will be key to the success of the Thunder if they are to find a way to beat the Spurs. If the Spurs win they will need a big series from Tony Parker, who emerged from the shadow of Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobilli. However, both the Spurs old guys must come up big if they are to beat the Thunder. Especially Duncan who will be have to neutralize Kevin Durant to the best of his ability and show that the old dog still has some tricks.
Ultimately the key will rest with who can do better on the other guy’s court. The Thunder will need to win at least one in San Antonio, and they must stand firm in OKC. In the end this heavyweight fight will go the distance and the younger fresher team will find a way to survive winning two in San Antonio including a seventh game, as the 1-2 punch of Durant and Westbrook will outslug the Spurs, who will lose this game in the middle with Serge Ibaka showing why he is one of the best defenders in the league.